- Freddy’s Bar & Backroom
485 Dean Street, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, 718-622-7035
At first glance, the great Freddy’s—with its diverse crowd of regulars, patina of age (it’s been a speakeasy, a bowling alley, a cop bar), and nightly shows ranging from British jazz combos to “The Leonard Cohen Christmas Special”—seems to sizzle with life. But listen closely, and you’ll hear despair beneath the Serge Gainsbourg on the jukebox: Those bedheaded twentysomethings and ponytailed older-timers are grumbling about Bruce Ratner, whose plan to bring the New Jersey Nets to Brooklyn involves razing their beloved local, not to mention the surrounding blocks, to build a new stadium. (Men can check out the arena schematics hanging over the urinals.) Though they don’t really expect to stop him—“The capitalists will win,” says one—neighbors come here to craft protest signs (like nets kill dolphins), stage fund-raisers, and, while they’re at it, knock back a couple of $4.50 pints of Guinness. It might be a good idea to join them soon, before gloom inevitably gives way to doom.
Best Bar That's Not Long For This World
From the 2004 Best of New York issue of New York Magazine
So what exactly does “best” mean in a city with thousands of pizza joints, hundreds of celebrity masseuses, and museum-worthy concept shops on every corner? Well, in the case of this, our annual “Best of New York” roundup, there’s a heavy emphasis on what’s new or what has somehow remained virtually unheard of (until now, of course).